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Top 60 Countdown: No. 1, LB Sean Spence

We've reached the end of our Top 60 Countdown and by now you've figured out Sean Spence is the player No. 1 on my list. When I set out to rank these players, I factored in what they've already accomplished, what they mean to the team and what they are expected to do in 2009. Spence ranked No. 1 in two of those categories (accomplished, expectations) and thus earned the top overall spot.

Sean Spence > What we heard about him on Signing Day '08: The leader and three-year captain of Miami Northwestern's defense, which won back-to-back Class 6A state titles. An Under-Armour All-American, he made more than 250 tackles in his final two season combined and was ranked the 13th best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and the second best by ESPN.com.

> What he's done as a Cane: Spence wasn't the biggest name UM landed from Miami Northwestern or even the best linebacker in his class (Arthur Brown was rated higher). But he's certainly risen through the ranks quickly. He heard ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 after finishing third on the team in tackles (65) and starting in nine games. He returned his first interception for a touchdown against Florida State and made a SportsCenter Top 10 hit on Tim Tebow and Gators running back in the loss at Florida. But his biggest play was coming up with the fumble at Virginia in UM's overtime come-from-behind victory.

> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: Spence climbed to No. 1 on my list because he embodies all three characteristics I set out when I began ranking players. He's already made a huge imprint win Freshman All-American honors, he's the bonafide leader of UM's defense (say what you want about Randy Phillips, Spence is the man) and without question he's talented enough to be a first round pick in two seasons. At 6-feet, 212-pounds, some people may question if he's big enough to handle the strongside linebacker position. Spence (4.55-speed, 425 squat) is more than qualified. What has always been his strength aside from desire and play making ability is his understanding of the game. This a kid who was breaking down film for seniors at Miami Northwestern when he was a sophomore. Now, he's doing the same at Miami. Players who make it big aren't just physically talented, but they're smart and they're great leaders. Spence embodies it all. And he's just a sophomore. Without him, Miami's defense is at a huge disadvantage. With him a junior, Miami's defense could once again become one of the best in college football. He should not only be top three in tackles again (Colin McCarthy will lead in tackles if he's healthy), but biggest defensive plays (he won that one last year). That's why he's No. 1.

FYI... I decided to take this week off (knowing the Canes start prepping for Florida State next week). So, there updates here from practice later this week. Our Susan Miller Degnan will be out there covering it all when practice resumes this morning. I'll be back out at UM beginning Monday.


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Okay, I'll buy it. I remember when Ray Lewis was a Freshman, he was amazing. I haven't been that impressed with a Freshman Linebacker since then until Spence. He is a unique athlete and I am glad we have him for at least 2 more seasons.

3rd..Ray Ray for QB #3

Congrats Cane Fan ...

So, U have 1 player on Ur ENTIRE Roster that would see the field as a GATOR...

Ur Erosion is truly sad.

3rd..Ray Ray for QB #3

Posted by: drtycane21 | August 27, 2009 at 06:54 AM

Can Bosher throw the ball ?

Ray Ray as third string qb? Why not. Doesn't look like he's going to see much of the field this year anyway. Toting a clipboard and breaking down film with the Whipster could give him a better understanding of college offenses. And in turn, how to defend against them.

Congrats Cane Fan ...

So, U have 1 player on Ur ENTIRE Roster that would see the field as a GATOR...

Ur Erosion is truly sad.

Posted by: Ur Kicker As Ur MVP Says It All ... | August 27, 2009 at 07:00 AM

At least our players are staying out of trouble and not wielding automatic weapons.

go sean you the man #1go canes

You gotta love how Urban Meyer handles arrests. His kids have "individual workouts" as penance. Is he taking a page from ole Bubby Bowden? I'd take our kids like Spence and Jacory and Forston over any Gator any day. If the gator players aren't getting arrested they are out playing with little kids in other countries staying "virgins". Gimme a break!

Get some rest Manny :)

Gator fans who wake up at 7am to talk about the Hurricanes? Hilarious! What tools! GO CANES!

Hey, Gator fans when Tim leaves Florida is going back being 3rd or 4th best team in the state of Florida again.

I will be the first to say I'm a gater hater!!
(gator) yes I know. Why and the heck are state bucks paying this guy millions to harbor fugitives, Isn't that against the law or something? Spence isn't bad for a 3* for all you cane fans who worry about *'s that Sh#t is overated like the gators; look how many NC USC, LSU, and Texas got with there 5* players and who ever else racks them up

Hey am I the only 1 who thinks Tebow looks an acts like a {aget. He may can run over people but being a virgin at 22 yrs old is nothing to brag about. I wonder if he's a virgin other places lmao.

15 posts and more than half are about the GATORS ...

Manny why does the U always seem to need another yr, when Spence is a jr. Why not this yr?

Spence is amazing! The embodiment of what a Hurricane truly is...a throwback. He's Dan Morgan, Ray Lewis, Michael Barrow, and Jon Vilma in one total package. My prediction? He will dominate along with McCarthy. Together they will make GT switch to another playbook.

At least our players are staying out of trouble and not wielding automatic weapons.

Posted by: Eric | August 27, 2009 at 07:47 AM

Charm School don't win 'Ships ... Players do and U have just ONE on Ur ENTIRE SQUAD !!!

First: way too many typos in that article.

Second: You Can't find the whole 60 countdown on the site, ridiculous.

Third: I agree with your rankings and have enjoyed them.

Fourth: Any Gator fan that posts here is a loser. Gators still haven't reached the same success as UM overall and it bothers you? Child please!

Gators on this post just show how insecure they are. Never in my life have I ever felt the need to go on a Gators blog. I can care less what you guys are doing.

We dont play you again til 2013. Remember? You guys took us off your schedule to play Troy every year....get a life and worry about yourselves.

You should be proud of what your program is doing. Stop looking in the rear-view mirror. Don't worry, all will stabilize and the U will trump you guys soon, relax.


Posted by: Child Please | August 08, 2009 at 07:25 PM

does QAM care about U?
that’s the $64,000 question …
they sacrificed the voice of the University of Miami to placate the goddamn Miami dolphins …
hell, they sacrificed ratings to placate the goddamn Miami dolphins …
shoving that revolting dolphin happy talk down your throat til your ears ring
market leader no more : )
the lovable Beast spoke for U …
far more effectively than the supposed voice joe zagacki who limits his vocabulary to 3 words: uh, um & leadership
I’m not taking this lying down …
and neither should U …

VOX POPULI (voice of the people)

Posted by: green | August 09, 2009 at 07:12 AM


does QAM care about U?
I guess they do …
flagships marry …



5 Gators and 9 total SEC Players ...

2 acc ... Bwwwaaaahhhhhh !!!


It Only Gets Better For The CHAMPS !!!

does QAM care about U?
I guess they do …
flagships marry …


Posted by: green | August 27, 2009 at 09:52 AM

Congrats Cane Fan... Now U can get all of this seasons BAD news quicker !!!

Let the Whinning, Crying and Bellyaching Begin !

Posted by: Sal Governale | August 27, 2009 at 09:32 AM

Fifth. Get Ur Mask n Fins ready ...

canes fans stink. rude, mean spirited,no loyalty. its the worst fan base in the country.
its amazing anyone wants to play for um.

Posted by: bradleyfork | August 27, 2009 at 10:17 AM

you forgot Dumb, Blind and in Denial ...

We have a lot more than one player who would be on the field at UF. Half of our team has been recruited by you guys. Bailey would surely be on the field and Meyer was all over DVD, Dye and Ray Ray. How about Cookie Buchanon that came to Miami and caused Urban to throw his phone across the room on signing day? Ever hear the name Marcus Forston? Sure you guys are better than us right now but you look foolish coming over acting like we have absolutely nobody when we have beat you guys out for a bunch of recruits since Meyer was coach. Its also silly that you are coming over here worried about us when you are preseason # 1.

We get it, enjoy it while it lasts, we are way ahead of you. For you to understand where we are as a program you would need to win 2 more national championships, go on a real slump, and then start rebuilding.

Still processing the double whammy QB transfer. Don't understand how 10 days before the first game QB2 and QB3 decide to bail. Why is it that other stud QB's are fine at other programs riding the pine and waiting their turn but at UM we have 3 QB's in 2 years bolting the program? Cook has to know that one injury - which happens frequently to QB's in this day and age - and he's the starter. How does he (and Smith) go through Spring drills, Summer workouts and Fall and then decide to tranfer? Makes no sense whatsover. Shannon obviously is a poor communicator and manager if he can't keep this backup signal callers in tow. Again, Taylor is one snap away from being the man at the U so WTF? The timing of this is also strange, Shannon obvoiusly alienated both these guys who seemed to be committed to the program up until a few days ago. This more than anything else that has gone down signals that Shannon is not head coaching material. Let's hope that Jacory goes unscathed this year or we are up the creek.

Yo ... ALL U mentioned would be backups ... NOT STARTERS

Fox could maybe rotate in at Tackle and compete but that is IT !

Ur MVP would even sit.

And another thing, Taylor who would have seen the field this year and possibly seen major minutes if Jacory was to go down would not have transferred if he didn't feel jerked around by Shannon (or maybe Whipple as well).


First off braindead canefan, Meyer is KILLING marble mouf in recruiting. Just go check your beloved ESPN rankings. Marbles is an also ran now. Meyer could close the NUMBER ONE class in 2010. That's what dominating does for U.

Nice the way U have been dominating since joining a mildly competitive conference. Those ZERO Acc titles are quite impressive.

Word js that the FSU glee club will be handing out free masks and snorkels at gate 472 on game night. U have a liile DE problem and Dumbo Fisher is salivating heavily.

Hey canzfan,

Check out yesterday's article - there was nothing mysterious about why they transfered when they did. Classes were about to start. They had to opt out yesterday or they would have burned a year of eligibility. Sometimes the obvious reason is the correct one. I wish they were still here, but they want to be big fish in small ponds. That's fine, I wish them well. I also wish Harris good health and Highsmith a quick learning curve.

Yo ... ALL U mentioned would be backups ... NOT STARTERS

Fox could maybe rotate in at Tackle and compete but that is IT !

Ur MVP would even sit.

Posted by: It's Where Ur At... Accept It, Clean House And Start Over... | August 27, 2009 at 10:57 AM

I would have to say that we have a better wide receiver Corps then the Gators this year. Also have better running backs then the Gators. Tell me why the gators have only 1 linebacker on the Butkus watch list and we have 2?

Gator fans are dumber then they look.


Look at the BOTTOMLESS list of individual awards for UF players last year then look at YOURS. U are. Running joke

Gator players will be FLOODING INTO the NFL in the next draft. Um will have one maybe two mid rounders. That's the clear sign that U are mow IRRELEVANT. Carlos Dunlap will be a top five overrall and UF will flood the first two rounds.

Congratulations on having two players on the Butkus WATCH LIST U IMMENSE MORON.

U put on a Gator hat and swore U saw a dumb guy in the mirror.

Hey Eric U dumb cane honk.

I don't put much stock in watch lists but U seem to.

Have a peek if U dare.


Manny - I loved the Top 60 Countdown. It's a great idea that is sure to spawn imitations at other media.

The only omission from the list I can think of is Jimmy Graham. From the rave reviews he's received I have to think he warrants a spot?

Any way you give us a rundown on players 61-85? Just a quick 2-line or so synopsis on each?

Great work.

I have to address the comment made by canzfan, first off stop pretending to be something you're not, that's a TRUE CANE FAN. Second, I know you have heard the saying, if you can't handle the heat then get out the kitchen. Its obviously that these guys don't really like competition and it showed when they departed, money can only get you so far, sooner or later you are going to have to earn your rightful just in society. One, Two or Three Monkeys don't stop no show. Last, if you got time to sit on your notebook and bash Coach Shannon and his team, then deep down inside you really must be some type of hurricane fan but you don't want your wife and kids to know that U really is all for the U.....Get Down or Get BEAT DOWN


I understand about the deadlines but you may be missing the point. All schools have the same deadlines but the second string QB who is an injury away from starting at a major program does not typically walk away from an opportunity after all the blood sweat and tears over the past two years. I think Shannon's BS in opening up the backup competition after advising Cook he was QB2 going into the season has alot to do with it. He probably felt lied to and betrayed by the HC. Don't underestimate trust in the equation.

And for all you Gator fans that think our players couldn't start for the Gators, you are 100% correct. You can't start for the Gators wearing Orange & Green or White & Green or Green & Green or White & White w/Green. You notice, that green is some where in there at all times which makes it hard for any Miami player to start for the Gators....Ya Dig!!!!!So, U stop talking about the U before U get hurt!!!!!!

..Get Down or Get BEAT DOWN


Nice RHETORIC dimbulb. Sadly that is what U have been reduced to....RHETORIC.

Bash coach Shannon??? It's simply stating the truth U dumb cane stooge. He's a horrendously bad coach and a pathological LIAR. I'll cut him a break when he grasps the rudiments of utilizing timeouts.

Green this...... Green that.......


Try not getting run over for 480 yards then TALK EMPTY SMACK.
Or maybe score more than 3 points U F'in dumbazzz.
Or have somebody other than your KICKER as your MVP.
Or recruit some DE's that aren't glass jawed wussies
Or get a MAN QB that won't get blown over in a stiff wind
Or just shut you ignorant cane pie hole U no conference winning pansies!


A true can fan cares enough about the team to question when not one but your two backup QB's bolt right before the season begins. Name me one decent college program where that's ever happened? I've supported Shannon and been a big Cane fan since the Lou Saban days. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate and a coach who can't control or doesn't know how to manage the most important position on the team.

THE U!!!


more empty RHETORIC

( go look up "rhetoric" clown)

Looks like Dye is hurt to... He's "nicked up".

Honestly, do we even have bodies to put at DE. I have never seen anything like this with so many injuries to one position.

I mean, are they all "horsing around" in the locker room?

With every new injury, it becomes less likely that Shannon keeps his job.

Heres hoping to at least an 8 win season.

Heres hoping to at least an 8 win season.

Posted by: JRod | August 27, 2009 at 01:16 PM

That's just funny.

.500 U

no conference titles

more of the same in 09

The depth is NOT building. Spare the real fans all that laughable "lowe the boom" NONSENSE.... please
the Oline stinks. The dline is crumbling as we speak. A beatdown in the trenches awaits. Eight wins? NADA

canes fans stink. rude, mean spirited,no loyalty. its the worst fan base in the country.
its amazing anyone wants to play for um.

Posted by: bradleyfork | August 27, 2009 at 10:17 AM

it's amazing that despite all the bs you just said there, that Kids STILL do want to go play for the U, mediocre or not, we're as relevant as it comes! you've won 2 NC's and you still can't get all the 5 star criminal kids that you want and just recently had a recruit decommit! (Victor Hampton) wow so much for being a perfect university to go to, kid probably realized how much of a hicktown Gainesville is! goodluck getting beat by ole miss again this year!

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